The next step in the long, drawn-out legal saga over a houseboat on Yellowknife Bay between the Government of the NWT and a man who says the GNWT has no jurisdiction over him is to take place on Tuesday.

Randy Sibbeston was not in court Friday to argue his case about his unused houseboat that sits on Commissioner’s land in Yellowknife Bay off the Rotary Park boardwalk. The GNWT wants Supreme Court judge Shannon Smallwood to allow it to remove the boat. She will give her decision Tuesday. NNSL file photo

That is when Supreme Court judge Shannon Smallwood is to give her decision on an injunction sought by the territorial government to have Randy Sibbeston remove what’s left of the houseboat or the government will do it for him.

The case began 2013 when the GNWT took Sibbeston to court for ignoring a trespass notice posted to the boat. The territorial government stands firm that the houseboat is moored on Commissioner’s land and Sibbeston has no authorization to leave the boat where it is.

Sibbeston, the son of NWT Senator Nick Sibbeston, has said in the past that as an Indigenous person, the territorial government has no authority over him or the waters of Yellowknife Bay.

Sibbeston, who lives in Fort Simpson, was not in court Friday to argue his case and tell Smallwood why she should rule against the injunction application.

The houseboat, which is now frozen in the ice at the end of the Rotary Boardwalk, has had the house part of it dismantled and removed. All that’s left is the base and the pontoons.

The government has been represented inn the case by GNWT lawyer Chris Buchanan who said that should Smallwood grant the injunction, Dept. of Lands personnel will chip the boat out of the ice and put it into storage as soon as possible. He expected the GNWT would likely try to recoup the cost of doing that from Sibbeston.

Regardless of how Smallwood rules, both sides are to be back in court in December. At that time it is expected Sibbeston will defend his Indigenous rights and argue he can moor his boat pretty much anywhere he wants in the NWT. Buchanan said however that Sibbeston has asked for an adjournment until January. A decision on that request had yet to be made as of Friday afternoon.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.